Today started just fine. It was a usual Monday, busy but not overwhelming. I still had the weekend on my mind. So I was generally just feeling easy. I got through a morning meeting, a practice session for a thesis defense of one of my graduate students, work on an upcoming broadcast to students on estuaries and other general stuff.
After work I went to a meeting. Because there weren't enough people at the Al-Anon meeting, a couple of us went next door to the AA meeting. I've been to this group before when there weren't enough at the Al-Anon meeting. The meetings are next door to each other at a country church and there usually aren't too many in attendance at either meeting.
Tonight there were a few people that I'd seen before and then a new fellow came in. He had just gotten out of treatment and had found a meeting. He said that he got out of treatment on Friday and that he was wanting to change his life. Unfortunately, he smelled of alcohol and had the glazed look of someone who knocked back a few recently. This was his first AA meeting and he didn't understand what Al-Anoners were doing at the AA meeting. He talked a lot about how he wasn't going to go down the road that he had been down with drinking. He said that his son put a bottle of tequila near him just to see if he would want to drink. He picked up a white chip and seemed pleased with himself. I felt sick.
Listening to him and smelling alcohol on him brought back to me the weekends of my childhood when my father would smell of alcohol and expound in a drunken slur on a variety of things. The new man's presence was a trigger for me and I could feel the anxiety and fear creeping in. I felt ill at ease and unsettled. On the way home, I decided that I still react to the smell of alcohol. It's a trigger that brings up those days from childhood. Once I realized why I was feeling so anxious, I was able to do something about it. I still am a bit unsettled but I think that the best thing for me is to sleep at this point. Tomorrow is another day.